It's nice to be surprised. It's even nicer when a game that you'd never expect to be surprised by does exactly that. So when Pac-Man jumps into a robot suit and starts blasting his enemies into shreds with a massive gun, well, you can only be a bit startled. It's just a shame that the surprises don't extend to Pac- Man World 3 being more than just sort of OK. PMW3 delights in underdelivering throughout.
Yes, like Kao Challengers (PSM2#70, 69%), Pac-Man World 3 is another one of those games that's quite pleasant but - robot suit aside - fundamentally unmemorable. Leap around on platforms, eat dots, jump on monsters' heads. Pretty much what you'd expect for the most part, then, although it can be quite varied. Pac can fl y for a start, by jumping on launch pads and following a stream of dots through the sky - but don't get too excited, because you don't actually get to control him while he's doing this. It looks nice, though.
Then there are weapons. Pac can also, after collecting the requisite pick-up, fire lasers from his fingertips or one from his arse (no, really) and then run around the baddies to encircle them - at which point, the beam contracts and kills them.
But it's all a little underwhelming, The environments don't help, being beyond drab sometimes - the levels set in lush green fields are nice enough, but there are stages set in depressing rocky caverns, quasifuturistic underground lairs and, worst of all, a sewer. A sewer. And that's the first level. What an introduction, eh?
But other than that, Pac-Man World 3 doesn't do anything particularly wrong - the controls are sharp and responsive, the camera is usually positioned sensibly and if it's not, you can flick it about with o and u and there are lots of different attacking moves, including the 'rev yourself up by running on the spot and then charging' move - but as we keep saying, none of it's at all memorable. Yes, it's quite a good game, but - given that you could be playing the thoroughly excellent Daxter or the much better MegaMan Powered Up instead - is quite good really enough?
Kids might get something out of Pac-Man World 3, but anyone else will probably tire of it fairly quickly. It's not bad as such, but it's got about as much impact of a mallet made of feathers.